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John of Gaunt
- Favourite Briton.

Born on 6th of March 1340
Died in Leicester, Leicestershire
Died on 3rd of February 1399

Superficially John of Gaunt can be seen as a failure: he never won the glory in battle that his father Edward III or his brother The Black Prince did; though he claimed the throne of Castile through his marriage to the Infanta Constance he lost out to a rival; and in England he never took the expected step of ousting his nephew Richard II. But his success lies in the fact that as regards the last matter, his son Henry Bolingbroke was bolder, usurping the throne as Henry IV and having Richard murdered.
John of Gaunt (so called because he was born in Ghent, in contemporary English Gaunt) was Edward IIIís fourth son, born in 1340; his many lands and titles including Duke of Lancaster were accumulated through three marriages (a fourth to his mistress was a love match), and also bestowed by his nephew who made him Duke of Aquitaine. John was virtual regent during Richardís youth, his harsh taxation a major factor in the Peasantsí Revolt.
Seemingly for political rather than religious reasons he protected Wycliffe; and he was the great patron of Chaucer whose brother-in-law he eventually became Ė Johnís mistress Catherine Swynford whom he eventually married was sister to the poetís wife.
Not only did his son become king and produce one royal line; though explicitly barred from succession, his legitimised children with Swynford produced another royal line, that of the Tudors. John died in Leicester Castle in 1399.

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I am humble enough to know I have made mistakes but politically astute enough to know that I have forgotten what they are - Michael Heseltine
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On this day:
Edward II killed at Berkeley Castle - 1327, Battle of Prestonpans - 1745, Tolkien Publishes The Hobbit - 1937, First Old Grey Whistle Test - 1971
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